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Forfeiture gone too far?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Bruce M, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Bruce M

    Bruce M

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  2. Willard

    Willard Who, me?

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    Any forfeiture should be subject to due process and conviction.
     

  3. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    While I definitely raise an eyebrow at an agency of 27 cops covering 2,700 people, the geography involved, and the sheer amount of cash involved, there is really not a lot of information in the article about the actual source of the cash and circumstances surrounding its seizure and forfeiture, which seems to be the typical complaint when forfeiture gets publicity.
     
  4. Bruce M

    Bruce M

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    I am a touch curious as to how an officer from there is stationed in Southern California. I am strongly in favor of using asset seizure as a tool but perhaps slightly less supportive if it becomes the goal.
     
  5. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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    Due process, yes.

    I can find no Constitutional requirement for conviction as a pre-requisite. If the people want civil hearings separate from criminal procedings, then that's acceptable.
     
  6. railfancwb

    railfancwb

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    Absent a conviction what is the legal justification for forfeiture? Is it the same justification an armed robber uses - I have a gun and I am taking your property?

    Constitutional prohibition... What about this?

    AMENDMENT IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.




    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
     
  7. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

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    I know nothing about about the particulars mentioned above.

    But civil forfeiture is like suing someone. Anyone can do it. The only difference here is that it's the .gov that's doing the "suing." And they have the advantage of already holding the assets.

    Asset forfeiture is the same as a civil suit, that is, it's based on a a "more likely than not" standard. Same as when OJ was acquitted in criminal court for murder, but later found responsible in the civil suit. I don't remember anyone at the time crying how unfair that civil suit judgement against OJ was!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  8. blueiron

    blueiron

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    Forfeiture is a civil process, not a criminal one. You are applying the rules of one to the other, as currently construed in law.
     
  9. blueiron

    blueiron

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    You are quoting criminal process and not civil procedure. The difference is important and dissimilar.
     
  10. blueiron

    blueiron

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    27 officers for a town of 2,574 people is well beyond the State or national average.

    Forfeiture was a staple of the 1980s to strip drug lords of their profits, but I am suspicious of that department's motivations.
     
  11. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

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    No kidding.
    My first department was 12 full time officers and 12 part time officers for well over 18,000 people.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  12. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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    If this is your thinking, then you should be happy. The 4th only requires probable cause supported by oath to seize property. Civil forfeiture requires a preponderance of the evidence---a higher standard than PC---in a setting where the government's facts are subject to cross-examination.

    Of course as has already been pointed out, you're applying a wholly irrelevant standard. The description of forfeiture as a lawsuit is an excellent one. The government sues to take possession of the fruits or instrumentalities of a crime. If they prove by the majority of the evidence that a thing is used in crime, or gained because of crime, they take it.

    Are you going to claim that a person has a right to property that is the proceed of criminal activity?
     
  13. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    The difference is a forfeiture hearing, where evidence is presented justifying forfeiture. Do not confuse seizure and forfeiture.
     
  14. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

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    "Seize" and "own" have totally different meanings? :dunno:

    Thank god you are one of those who can read plain english!
     
  15. TreverSlyFox

    TreverSlyFox

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    I've always considered "Asset Forfeiture" to be nothing more than Legalized Theft by the Government. The way it's been used in many cases hasn't changed my mind one bit.
     
  16. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    There is a very strong program in SoCal and small agencies attach their people to various Task Forces and you can get various percentages of any seizure depending on your level of involvement but there is a minimum "cut" so to speak.

    It can get very lucrative if you throw a few people who are dedicated to that stuff.
     
  17. scottydl

    scottydl

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    It's a genius move as far as I'm concerned. Stealing drug dealers' illegal profits, and using them to legally fund drug enforcement... I mean it doesn't get any better than that. It's like the scene in Point Break where the crooks made Keanu Reeves (a kidnapped FBI agent investigating bank robbery) come with them to rob a bank. Only he had no gun and no mask. Or something like that.

    ^^ Those comments are unrelated to the original post/article, which I can't seem to read because I'm not a registered user of that news site.
     
  18. knoxvegasdaddy

    knoxvegasdaddy UBER VOL !!!

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    Of course as has already been pointed out, you're applying a wholly irrelevant standard. The description of forfeiture as a lawsuit is an excellent one. The government sues to take possession of the fruits or instrumentalities of a crime. If they prove by the majority of the evidence that a thing is used in crime, or gained because of crime, they take it. - from Sam Spade

    Sam,
    In your quote above, it seems you are saying that the agency is the plaintiff. I don't think that's right. In actual practice it goes more like this:

    1. the seizure occurs.

    2. WHETHER CHARGES ARE EVER FILED OR NOT, the seized assets AUTOMATICALLY become the property of the agency.

    3. It is then up to the owner of the asset to choose to file a civil suit to recover the assets.

    4. It the asset owner chooses to sue, they have the burden of hiring an attorney (and paying for it themselves) and paying the filing fees to get the case into civil court. Then they have the burden of proof, and must "prove a negative" (that the asset ISN'T from illegal activity)

    5. If they lose, they are subject to paying the attorney's fees for the agency's attorneys.

    6. If they win, they get their stuff back. They don't get back their time, lost time from work, or any court expenses. And, I have never heard of a judge making the agency pay the attorney's fees of the plaintiff.

    In this scenario, the plaintiff loses even if they win. How is that even remotely fair?
     
  19. eracer

    eracer Where's my EBT?

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    Fair? You want fair?
     
  20. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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    I'm sorry, you're wrong. Pretty much everything above is incorrect.

    The government files claim and bears the burden of proof. You can see that simply by looking at the case cite: It's *always* "People v A Bunch of Stuff". And there is no "loser pays" in any civil proceeding (except when the government loses a 1983 suit and has to pay the citizen's costs).

    Really, you're completely backwards here.